Franciscan University Alumni and Faculty Involved in Papal Visit


A press release from my alma mater…

Franciscan University Students to See Pope in Philadelphia

Franciscan Alumni and Faculty Also Involved in Papal Visit

STEUBENVILLE, OH— More than 220 Franciscan University of Steubenville students along with three Franciscan TOR priests and several Franciscan TOR sisters will travel to Philadelphia for the September 27 open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

The four busloads of students will leave at midnight on Saturday, September 26, and arrive near dawn to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the site for Pope Francis’ final public event on his visit to the United States. Prior to the 4:00 p.m. Mass, the Franciscan contingent will join the expected 1-2 million people who will take in live music, speakers, and a Papal Procession, all viewable from more than 40 jumbotrons set up along the parkway.

Franciscan alumni participating in the celebration include musician Mark Griswold ’91, the founder and director of FireHill Worship, a praise and worship band based in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and Martin Doman ’96, director of Praise and Worship Music Ministry at Ave Maria University. Both will join seven other bands that will entertain the huge crowd leading up to the Mass on Sunday.

Three speakers leading breakout sessions at the World Meetings of Families taking place in Philadelphia the week before the papal visit have ties to Franciscan University. On Wednesday morning, September 23, Dr. Greg ’89 and Lisa ’89 Popcak, authors and co-hosts of Ave Maria Radio’s More2Life program, will speak on “See How They Love One Another: The Family and the Faith.” Dr. Scott Hahn, Franciscan University’s Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, will speak on Thursday, September 24, on “Back to the Garden of Eden: Unearthing God’s Covenant With Humankind.”

Kelly Schaffer, a senior philosophy and theology major from Whitehouse, Ohio, is one of the Franciscan students making the trip.

Schaffer says, “It will be so enriching to be able to hear the Holy Father speak to the United States specifically, and hopefully address some of the spiritual issues we as a country are facing today.”

During his visit to Philadelphia, the last leg of his six-day U.S. visit, Pope Francis will also give a speech on immigration in front of Independence Hall, attend the Festival of Families, visit the city’s largest prison, Curran-Fromhold, meet with seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

For live streaming video and news updates on Pope Francis’ visit to North America, visit

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